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Thanks to a mighty effort by the Trustees of the 150 year old Reading Rooms at 73 High Street, Billericay and the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the very special building in the town can celebrate in style with a major events weekend in March.
In the 150 years of its proud history, the Rooms have been about reading, newspapers, books, about people discovering great authors such as Charles Dickens and creating social pleasure for the townsfolk.
It was the brainchild of the Trustees to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund to help make 150 years a wonderful occasion. Through the Sharing Heritage grant programme, £4,800 was awarded to the Trust to explore the history of the Reading Rooms in partnership with local schools. As part of this project, a Victorian style celebration and exhibition will now take place over the weekend of March 7th, 8th and 9th.
On offer will be a Victorian menu, with Victorian cakes and biscuits like our ancestors used to make. Mouth-watering!
The Trustees have brought the event into the modern era by asking four local schools to take up the challenge of exploring the Victorian era. Buttsbury Junior School, St John’s School. St Peter’s Catholic Primary School and Quilters Junior School responded and all four will be contributing in their own chosen way – displays, wall-hangings, special projects. They prepared by attending the Billericay Cater Museum and the Braintree Victorian Museum for information and research.
Andy Maddocks, who led the drive to secure Heritage Lottery Fund support for the project, said:
“Naturally, we are thrilled. It is a generous grant but comes with commitments from us. I am glad to say, we have met all their requirements and can go ahead.”
Official opening of the event exhibition which spans the whole weekend is on Friday, March 7th – Victorian Day – and will continue until Sunday March 9th until 4.00pm. John Baron, MP has been invited and agreed to officially open the event on Friday 7th, along with other dignitaries and invited guests. The Rooms will be open to the general public from 10.00am-4.00pm daily.